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Act of Mercy: A Celtic Mystery Hardcover – 1 Nov 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur (Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312268645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312268640
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.6 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,359,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Hardcover
Peter Tremayne is the fiction pseudonym of a well-known authority on the ancient Celts, who has utilised his knowledge of the Brehon law system and 7th-Century Irish society to create a new concept in detective fiction.

The Sister Fidelma novels are taking on almost cult proportions and are becoming ever more popular with each offering from the author, whose obvious knowledge of the times and subjects he writes about shines out like a beacon on the shore.

It is the autumn of the year AD666 and Sister Fidelma has set out on a pilgrimage, her main task and thoughts are to reflect on her commitment to the religious life. Her work has to a degree isolated her from the life that a normal Christian Sister would live within the church.

However on the first night aboard ship a pilgrim is washed overboard, but was it an accident or a deliberate act of murder. Fidelma find herself involved in attempting to solve the mystery . . .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lust, Madness, and Death... 2 July 2014
By Raven - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Act of Mercy by Peter Tremayne

About the series: May be spoilers! Sorry!
The Sister Fidelma mysteries are set mainly in Ireland during the mid-seventh century AD. Sister Fidelma is not simply a religieuse, a former member of the community of St Brigid of Kildare. She is also a qualified dalaigh, or advocate of the ancient law courts of Ireland. She is also a Princess, Colgù mac Faίlbre Flaind - King of Muman (Munster) being Fidelma's older brother. She solves mysteries with the help of Brother Eadulf, a Saxon from Seaxmund’s Ham, whom she later marries. They have a son, Alchú.

About the author:
Peter Tremayne is a pseudonym for Peter Berresford Ellis, a recognized historian and expert on Celtic Studies. He also is an expert on the early Irish Catholic Church and the laws of ancient Ireland.

A conflicted Sister Fidelma joins a group that is on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James, in Iberia, modern-day Spain. The conflict arises from her feelings for Brother Eadulf, and whether it is wise to pursue them. Before she can board the ship, a body is discovered in an inn where the Pilgrims had stayed the night before.

Originally there were to be six Brothers and six Sisters in the Pilgrimage party. However, one has be said to back out of the party and never left St. Declan’s Abbey. The other didn’t make it aboard ship, and is suspected to have missed the boat. It is her body that the Innkeeper discovered.

On shipboard an unpleasant surprise awaits her in the person of Brother Cian, a former warrior and her first love. Cian had deserted her after she gave herself to him. Cian professes to still care for her and wants to renew their relationship.

To complicate matters, there is a murder aboard The Barnacle Goose. Sister Muirgel, who had been suffering from seasickness, has disappeared in the night. Cian suggests she fell overboard in the night attempting to ease her illness by going on deck. But the cabin boy finds her torn and bloody robe under her bunk, and reports that she had locked her door the night before.

And so begins the weaving of a mystery. As Sister Fidelma gathers the various threads, she is faced with something that may have grim results. If she does not solve the mystery before the ship arrives at its destination, the murderer may vanish into the solace of unfamiliar territory and literally get away with murder!

As usual, Peter Tremayne inserts history, religion, and mystery into a tale that is well worth the reading. Another five stars out of five stars for this book and the continuing series!

Quoth the Raven…
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Treymaines' books but really hate the editing of the kindle editions. 24 Dec. 2012
By Sandie Montana - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Sister Fidelma mysteries for a variety of reasons, predominately:excellent mysteries with good character development, an excellent and a readable presentation of ancient Irish history and Brehon law. I have learned so much about the battle between the Irish Catholics and the Roman Catholics; and sadly, that the harsh views of Christianity held by the Roman faction were the final winners of the battle for the soul of all Catholics. I have also found fascinating the blend of Brehon law, Druid beliefs and practices and Christianity--the world would be a better place had the Irish version succeeded. My Irish heritage seems somewhat vindicated and less "priest-riddent" by the knowledge that Ireland was the world center of learning in a very dark time and had some of the most progressive practices of the day (and possibly even more than those extant in the world today).

Yes, I know that Peter Tremayne has been sometimes critiqued as not being "scholarly" enough. But as a retired college professor, I know that criticism is sometimes a cover for people that don't want certain viewpoints allowed. However, what is really important is the STORY--we need stories to tell that are more humane, more loving, and more intelligent that those stories that are currently being told. And certainly Brehon law was more progressive and humane than anything we have seen to date. I advise you to read these in chronological order because the story is historical and should be read that way. I really love these stories, they are like candy and equally addictive.

That said, I have read eleven of the Sister Fidelma books so far, but with every Kindle edition I have read, I have become more and more exasperated and disappointed in the editing of the books. It is not as though these are one or two dollar books, they are expensive for e-books. In some pages I have found 2-4 editing errors, in some editions scores of editing errors. As a former editor, this grates on my nerves. AMAZON: hire people like me to edit these books, sometimes e-books written in English look as though they have been edited by a machine or someone who is not familiar with English. Again, hire professionals to edit these books. This would have been a 5-star rating had the editing been up to par.
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Supurlative 25 Mar. 2017
By Thomas Marble - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will gladly read everything Tremayne writes if it is about Sister Felelma.
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling read 18 April 2017
By Wanda Collins - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent read! This series of books is absolutely entertaining and enjoyable to read! I hope people take the time to read through each book!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read... 6 Jan. 2014
By Bonnie's Awesome Scrubbies - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the Sister Fidelma mysteries. She is a bit more "outgoing" and assertive than one would think for that period, but I like the stories and I've learned a lot about ancient Ireland through Mr. Tremayne's thorough research.
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